Mrs. Adesimbo Ukiri, CEO of Avon Healthcare, one of Nigeria’s leading Health Management Organizations, has said that with more long-term investment, the growing healthcare sector in Nigeria and other parts of Africa has the potential to develop rapidly and yield excellent returns.
Ukiri made this statement at the 9th Annual U.S. Africa Business Summit, which was organized by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), an America-based non-profit organization established to promote business and investment between the United States and Africa
The summit, which was attended by more than 1,000 delegates from over 70 countries, held in Chicago, USA, between on October 8-11, 2013, to discuss the importance of expanding private sector trade and investment between the United States and Africa.
Ukiri, who spoke on a panel entitled: “Moving the Needle on Healthcare Financing in Africa”, expressed confidence in the prospects for healthcare financing on the African continent. She said: “Several financing and investment opportunities exist in hospital chains throughout sub-Saharan Africa that focus on primary care, maternal and infant health and the management of chronic (non-communicable) diseases, as well as general surgery.” Other areas for investment, according to Ukiri, include stand-alone diagnostic centres, pharmaceuticals manufacturing and health insurance institutions.
“Health insurance is crucial to ensure ordinary Africans have access to, and the ability to pay for, effective healthcare goods and services,” Ukiri added, noting that the industry must consolidate efforts with public and private partners to drive better access to healthcare.
She stated that key success factors that needed to be addressed to ensure sustained viability of investments on the delivery side of healthcare include: government support, by way of policies and regulations to facilitate universal health coverage through mandatory health insurance; robust standardization and accreditation regimes across national healthcare facilities to stimulate higher quality treatment and better clinical outcomes; and a commitment to the development, training and retention of local healthcare professionals.
Ukiri added that the ability to achieve scale was crucial to optimizing any of these opportunities that the continent presented.
Avon HMO, with a network of more than 300 hospitals spread across the country, is a member of the Heirs Holding Group, a conglomerate of companies chaired by African business leader and philanthropist, Mr. Tony Elumelu.